The Family and Childcare Trust is dedicated to helping families who struggle in the UK, with aim of making the UK a better place for families, through research, campaigning and information provision, and working with government, employers and parents. Parental Choice asked Megan Jarvie, who works at the Family and Childcare Trust, for her view on the charity this Christmas.
“A great thing about working at Family and Childcare Trust is that it helps to maintain my ability to see the world through a child’s eyes. This is particularly fun at Christmas when you get to remember the almost uncontainable excitement about all things related to the season.
For parents, this time is also full of excitement, but the holiday season can also bring challenges. The magic sadly doesn’t come for free and families can see an extra strain on their finances. Schools and childcare providers also take well-earned breaks over the Christmas periods, meaning that families that normally use these services can find their careful balance thrown off kilter.
Some of these challenges exist all year round, and the Family and Childcare Trust continues to work for a better deal for families. We work directly with families, we support services that work with families, and we work with the people making decisions about family policy. We believe this approach helps to make the biggest difference. We believe that parents know the best solutions to family issues, and work with them to unlock this expertise.
We have lots of new, exciting work coming up in the New Year. We will be piloting a new model of childcare, driven by parents to best meet their needs. We are supporting the expansion of Little Village, a project that enables local families to share knowledge and goods for raising babies. The model is simple: parents donate things that they no longer need, for example a Moses basket that a baby has outgrown, and this is passed on to another family in need.
We will be taking on research projects that respond to the changing landscape in family policy. As we move to more academies in primary schools, what does this mean for school nurseries? And as funding for children’s centres decreases, what is the best model for meeting families’ needs in the early years?
Next year will also signify massive change in childcare provision, as free childcare for three and four year olds with working parents doubles from 15 to 30 hours. We will be working closely with councils and childcare providers to help these changes to come in smoothly.
We will also be continuing the successful work that we have been doing for many years. Our Parent Champions project trains up parents to provide information to other parents on childcare and beyond. This project has been hugely successful in getting information to some of the hardest to reach families and increasing uptake of early education. 2017 will be the sixteenth year that we have produced our Childcare Survey, the definitive source of information on childcare costs and availability and how these is changing over time.
We will continue to work to help parents balance working and caring responsibilities, through improving both childcare provision and employment practices. This work recognises the gender divides that still exist and that change is needed to enable fathers to fulfil the joy and responsibility of bringing up children as well as for mothers to be able to succeed in their careers. We hope that this will include working with corporate partners to increase understanding of how to support employees to get this balance right.
So we have a busy year ahead! There are plenty of opportunities for your business to get involved with us, from supporting projects to providing insight from your employees.”
You can find out more at www.familyandchildcaretrust.org/partner-family-and-childcare-trust